Canadian governments overspent their budgets by a massive $65 billion over the last decade, a transgression that has come back to haunt them in this new era of high deficits, a new study shows.

The annual Pinocchio Index by the C.D. Howe Institute suggests governments with the most fiscal room — particularly resource-rich Alberta and Saskatchewan — have grown the longest noses over the decade.

But even the federal government, under both the current Conservatives and the predecessor Liberals, has routinely spent more than the budgets they presented and received approval for in Parliament.

Over the 10 years ending in 2009, Ottawa has overspent its budgets by $21.7 billion cumulatively.

Ontario, relative to its population, faces the biggest obstacle with deficits of $21.3 billion and $19.7 billion in the past and current fiscal years.

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